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One of the twentieth century’s stand-out style icons, Babe Paley epitomized New York jet-set cool in the 50s and 60s. Along with style maven Slim Keith, Paley was one of the original celebutantes and GOSSIP GIRLs to make it big in American culture. Her clique was dubbed THE SWANS by Truman Capote.
Here are some of my favorite Babe looks…
Truman Capote supposedly drew on Babe Paley and the other Swans — his close friends — as inspiration for what was to be his final book, ANSWERED PRAYERS. Esquire magazine printed the first few chapters from the book. The social fall-out was disastrous. The SWANS never spoke to Capote again. Despite a generous advance, Capote did not finish the book. And died soon after.
ANSWERED PRAYERS is my favorite Capote book. It’s unflinching. And snarky. And heartbreaking. I can only imagine how he would have finished the novel. Perhaps Paley and the other Swans receive a gentle reprieve from Capote’s honest, but cruel, words.
Paley died at the age of 63 of lung cancer. Ever the society professional, she organized her own funeral, dictated the lunch menu, and personally handed out her last remaining possessions.
I can only wonder what her last thoughts might have been. Was it a life worth living? A life worth remembering?
To tie in with TRANSFORMERS’ star Megan Fox’s upcoming cover on ESQUIRE magazine, the magazine commissioned this video.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Fox is stunning. My rant has nothing to do with her, but instead with the magazine. Do they really think this video will SELL magazines? [Of course, watch me be wrong.] Perhaps in this age of failing newspapers and magazines, editors are desperate to make some noise to prove their relevance. But I can’t shake the creepy image stuck in my head of the ESQUIRE editors (mid thirties, floppy hair, channeling David Hemmings) in a room planning the video shoot, drooling over themselves. “Let’s make her roll around in bed!”
What’s really disappointing is that this cheap stunt comes from a magazine that put up thought-provoking cover like these…
I’m actually excited to see Megan Fox in TRANSFORMERS 2. She was a delightful discovery from the first film (and of course, Shia “BABY CHEEKS” LaBeouf can do no wrong in my book) — which of course I had to see because Optimus Prime was my first childhood crush. [Come on people, I was like 7. Cut me some slack.]
I just wish the people who shape our culture like magazine editors still gave a damn.